My Blog is Dead …. Long Live my Blog! #SocialSelling

blog-pic-b2cPublished my first blog on the 25th February 2014, following that I’ve publish 65 posts.

My objective was to get read, never thought I would get some many followers, retweets and meet so many interesting people. Back then I didn’t really understand what community meant, I do now.

But the time has come to move on. Wednesday 5th August, will be the day I cut new blog and a new adventure.

I’m hoping you will stick with me.

SP_the_aft_lounge_03socialsaleslounge.com Will be the same me, writing about Social Selling and as I’ve always written. No fluffy, meaningless slogans, but real solutions you can implement to over achieve your number, quicker.

In addition, I’m going to invite the people that influence me to guest blog.  (If you are interested in guest blogging then please contact me tim_hughes1@hotmail.com )

There is a new Twitter handle @SocialSalesLnge to support this community, and you can still find me at @Timothy_Hughes

My partner in this new adventure @Mbrit will make his own contributions as well has support the venture from a technical nature.

Do hope we can count on your support.

 

Tim Hughes is a Social Selling Innovator and Pioneer his blog has become a reference point for Sales People throughout the world to get hints and tips to get into Social Selling; Newbies and Influencers alike. Tim’s 27 years as a quota carrying salesperson, means he cuts the fluff and speaks in a no nonsense style. The blog is not about slogans but about how you can use Social to allow you to over achieve your quota, quicker.

Tim Hughes is a Speaker and Blogger on Social Selling and be can be contacted @Timothy_Hughes or Tim_Hughes1@hotmail.com or contact me at LinkedIn

 

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The Rise Of Influence In Sales #Socialselling

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 16.11.20Influence Marketing software company Traackr interviewed me on Social Selling and the use Of Influence Marketing.

The full interview can be found at the link here

@delph003 EMEA Marketing Manager for Traackr asked me a number of questions and we chatted for such a long time that we split the interview into 2.  This is part 1.

The questions I answer in this first half of the interview are:-

Q1:  How has social media impacted the sales process?

Q2: How do you see social selling evolving over the next few years?

Q3: How did you become such a social selling influencer?

 

Would be interested in your comments.  Have you come across something similar?

 

Tim Hughes is a Social Selling Innovator and Pioneer his blog has become a reference point for Sales People throughout the world to get hints and tips to get into Social Selling; Newbies and Influencers alike. Tim’s 27 years as a quota carrying salesperson, means he cuts the fluff and speaks in a no nonsense style. The blog is not about slogans but about how you can use Social to allow you to over achieve your quota, quicker.

Tim Hughes is a Speaker and Blogger on Social Selling and be can be contacted @Timothy_Hughes or Tim_Hughes1@hotmail.com or contact me at LinkedIn

Millennials are Making Decisions in your Accounts #Socialselling

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 14.26.12November 5th 2014, Google published a report “Digital Tipping Points for 2015” written by @Tuomisto my blog is based around the findings.

Millennials Don’t Make the Decisions in My Accounts the C-Suite Do!

Hopefully if you’re a regular reader of my blog you will know that people have or are in the process of switching to digital and mobile.  But many of us are wedded to the fact that the C-Suite make the decisions in our accounts and while (in our sales roles) we should always target them, as the world changes, there are other influences impacting in our accounts.

Many people say to me, “I don’t have time for Social“, “Social’s for kids“. Really? In my blog “22% of B2B Sales People will be Replaced by Search Engines by 2020“, I talk about how the buyer process has changed. (Note I’m talking past tense here, not, it may change, it has changed.)

Forrester talk about 22% of B2B Salespeople being replaced by search engines and Youtube videos by 2020. In that blog I explain you have to “Move Up, Move down or Get Out” of your Sales role.

Using Google research I’m going to explain how decision making in your accounts has shifted.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 14.12.40We all Start our buying process in Google

The number of people using Digital as a method of finding information and researching has increased from 71% in 2011 to 89% in 2014.  Not sure about you, but if I’m going to buy pretty much anything I go to Google and type some words in, refining my search.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 14.15.30The C-Suite Still Make the Decision, Right?

If you look at the research from Google, the C-Suite have Final Authority on 64% of decisions.  But layer on Non C-Suite Decision making and you can see that non C-Suite can have influence on 81% of Purchase Decisions.  How can that be? Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 14.16.30 It maybe that the C-Suite have signed off an overall project budget, but the components of that project are passed / delegated down the organisation to “People in the Know”.  For example, there might be an overall Customer Experience Transformation project, but the individual software components that make that up, are purchased lower down the organisation.  Add to that in the new world of SaaS / Cloud, as software can be switched off as quickly as it’s switched on and short timeframes of implementation, there may not be need for traditional IT involvement.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 14.19.28Based on Google’s research the “people in the know”, 48% of them are 18- 34 and 24% are 35 – 44.  This is placing B2B Enterprise decisions in the hands of “Millennials”.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 14.20.52In What Way are Millennials Involved in the Decision Making Process?

Using Google’s research Millennials are digital natives, their first computer was probably a mobile phone.  They are confident using mobile, in fact probably prefer it, when they do research on potential suppliers it is self-directed.  Google research also states that they are probably 57% of the way through a decision cycle before contacting suppliers.  Google also state that a researcher will do 12 searches until that point of engagement with a supplier.  Content that will be consumed includes video, blogs, customer comments etc.

Traffic to B2B websites has doubled in the last 2 years and this is because they have become a central point of research for potential customers.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 17.53.04Zero Moment of Truth (ZMoT)

If we go back to our own purchasing habits such as looking for a local plumber.  We might, search on the web, we also might seek references from friends, neighbours or relatives.  As we are all busy people, having a short list of more than 2 or maybe 3 is going to cause us a lot of work.  So while we might want to get “several quotes” that is a lot of time I need to invest, when I probably know which plumber I want to use from a short list of two.

Google found something similar for B2B purchases.  60% of customers only consider 2 brands, maybe your internal Purchasing department place on you the need to look at 3, for due diligence purposes.  Many organisations have an supplier option on a short list that nobody intends to use, just to make up the 3.

In Google’s findings they found that people often search by Brand and not product or process.  Note to self:  It would be good to scoop these searches at the point of search on Google.

In 2011, Google came up with the term the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMoT).  In the past, when people purchased B2B products, they would go to the supplier and get all of the information from them, they would then make a purchase (First moment of Truth) and experience that product and service (Second Moment of Truth).  Now there is this new research phase, where people will do research on the product and service they intend to buy.  They will then move to purchase, having consumed content, blogs, video etc.  They may even have become pretty expert in the products or services they intend to buy.

I’ll leave you with one last fact from Google’s report – They reckon that in 75% of purchases a Millennial will make only one visit to your corporate website.  So you had better make it easy for them to use

There’s a great two minute video on ZMoT from Google.

Winning the Zero Moment of Truth – A New Mental Model https://youtu.be/b8zRfiPfGTw via @YouTube

 

Thanks Joe Edwards @BrandJoe for bringing this report to my attention.

 

Really keen to get your comments, agree or disagree, help shape the debate.  What are your own experiences in your customers and prospects?  Please leave any suggestions or comments below.

Tim Hughes is a Social Selling Innovator and Pioneer his blog has become a reference point for Sales People throughout the world to get hints and tips to get into Social Selling; Newbies and Influencers alike. Tim’s 27 years as a quota carrying salesperson, means he cuts the fluff and speaks in a no nonsense style. The blog is not about slogans but about how you can use Social to allow you to over achieve your quota, quicker.

Tim Hughes is a Speaker and Blogger on Social Selling and be can be contacted @Timothy_Hughes or Tim_Hughes1@hotmail.com or contact me at LinkedIn

 

 

 

Social Selling With @Timothy_Hughes – Interview with @KymLamSam #socialselling

tim_hughesLink to interview with Kym Lam Sam @KymLamSam.

Kym writes blog for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses and was keen to understand how Social Selling will / can impact SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) and Sole Traders.

He is also keen to understand the impact of “rejection” in sales and how Social Selling can reduce rejection.  In other words, how can we increase the chance of success.

Over the 30 minute interview Kym asks me the following questions:-

Q1. You have 25 years of sales understanding under your belt. Is the practice of social media selling the same as traditional real world selling? If so, what are the similarities and if not, what are the differences?

Q2. Personal branding is becoming more and more of a necessity with the increased use of social media. People are wanting REAL connections. What are some of the most important things to consider when you want to get noticed online?

Q3. Rejection is a big fear that a lot of people share. It can also be quote deflating when you’re excited about what you have to offer and somebody throws it back in your face. Is there a way for someone to minimize the chances of rejection?

Q4. On the topic of rejection, when one is rejected, what is the best way to review/analyze your rejection in order to learn from it?

Q5. How can people be assertive without being pushy?

Link to interview is here http://www.kymlamsam.com/?p=11272

 

If during your journey you come up with other ideas, I would love to hear from you. Please leave any suggestions or comments below.

Tim Hughes is a Social Selling Innovator and Pioneer, his blog has become a reference point for Sales People throughout the world to get hints and tips on Social Selling; Newbies and Influencers alike. Tim’s 27 years as a quota carrying salesperson, means he cuts the fluff and speaks in a no nonsense style. The blog is not about slogans but about how you can use Social to allow you to over achieve your quota, quicker.

Tim Hughes is a Speaker and Blogger on Social Selling and be can be contacted @Timothy_Hughes or Tim_Hughes1@hotmail.com

 

10 Ways You Can Start #Socialselling That Don’t Take a Lot of Time

The number one objection I get from Sales People about Social Selling is “Tim, with all the other pressures I have, I just don’t have time for this.”

While I can give many arguments about changing your priorities, new ways of working, etc etc. Here are some ways you can short cut the time you spend on Social Media. Of course, don’t expect the same results, but it might get you into a Social Selling habit.

harry-potter-hd-wallpapers-free-download-4-what-do-you-think-of-this-deleted-scenes-listA member of my family, who is not a big reader, once asked me, what books should I read to get me into the reading habit. My advice was to start with magazines, start in small chunks then to move onto a Harry Potter or Dan Brown book. George Orwell, (as one person suggested) might not be the best place for her to start.

This blog is about how a new starter can start the Social Selling journey. If you are a purest or a long time Social Seller stop reading now this isn’t for you. In addition, thsi won’t get you thousands of followers but let’s get in to the habit first.

First things first. There are many Social Networks but unless you have a particular reason to get into YouTube, Pinterest then as a B2B sales person I would focus on LinkedIn and Twitter.

How often should I post? At least once a day. You can post the same content on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.  Here are the ten things you can do to Hustle your Social Selling

20110816earlymorningtweets1. When you get into work in the morning and you get your laptop / Mac out, post something to Twitter and LinkedIn. There must be something you read in the paper on the train on the way in or came in on email overnight.

2. Use automation. If you have read my post “Why don’t we just automate Social Media, we can then go back to doing our day jobs”  you’ll know I’m not a big fan of automation but Buffer and Hootsuite can be used to help you “batch” up a bunch of tweets in advance.  When you get in the office in the morning, why not batch some Tweets or LinkedIn posts?

Team3. Work as a Team. In all of the presentations I’ve seen on Social Selling, Social Media is positioned as a solo effort. Rather than searching for content, why not retweet others?  Form a team with work colleagues and agree to retweet each other or like posts on LinkedIn.  Don’t expect an explosion of followers, but you will start building a presence and (hopefully) start getting into the habit.

Marketing-4-1-1-Rules4. Your Marketing department should be providing you with content. Agree, in many cases this can look very “corporate”, but using tools discussed in 2. You can batch this up and schedule a number posts.  Check out the 4.1.1 Rule.

5. Reuse content. Why not use meeting notes to create Points of View (POV) LinkedIn / Blog posts. “These are the top 5 issues we see in Accounting systems in Media today” for example.

6. Take corporate videos, events, areas that interest you and write a LinkedIn post. 5 lines of introduction and context and then post the video / link to the event. Not the most elegant way of working but it gets you started.

7. What is your passion? Ask anybody about their passion and their eyes light up and immediately they become positively animated. Why start blogging about serious subjects, why not start with your passion? Sailing, Photography, etc

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 11.45.048. Download a content curation tool like Flipboard or Klout and find content, there must be time waiting in reception at a customer or on the train where you could find something relevant to Tweet?

 

9. Create a list on Twitter of Influencers or subscribe to one of my lists and as mentioned in 3. retweet that content.

Big_Four_29038u_original10. Stop being a corporate suit and be human. OK, so it’s a terrible clique but why not post a photo of your lunch / dog walk / airport lounge you are sitting in? In her book “Social Executive Dionne Lew says ….. “Why not take a photo and post it, show your human side.”

Finally I often get asked how much time should I spend on Social Media?  In my view, the world has changed and this requires us to change with it.  On that basis, 30 mins a day would be a good target. Yes this is a lot of time, but what worked 20 years ago might not work now.  Many Sales people I talk to work out what old ways they need to drop and find time for the working practices of the 21st century.

If during your journey you come up with other ideas that can help Social Sellers out there, I would love to hear from you. Please leave any suggestions or comments below.

Tim Hughes is a Social Selling Innovator and Pioneer his blog has become a reference point for Sales People throughout the world to get hints and tips to get into Social Selling; Newbies and Influencers alike. Tim’s 27 years as a quota carrying salesperson, means he cuts the fluff and speaks in a no nonsense style. The blog is not about slogans but about how you can use Social to allow you to over achieve your quota, quicker.

Tim Hughes is a Speaker and Blogger on Social Selling and be can be contacted @Timothy_Hughes or Tim_Hughes1@hotmail.com

Using Twitter to get C-Level Appointments a Case Study #Socialselling

Using Social Media to get C-Level Appointments – A Case Study

Loews-Hotels-to-allow-booking-of-rooms-by-TwitterThis blog is about how a sales guy is using LinkedIn and Twitter to get C-Level Appointments.  People often say to me “Social Media is for teenagers, give me an example of where people are using Social Media to create, real, tangible, business.”  Here is that example.

Paul @snapdragon_paul contacted me over @Twitter, he lives close to me, so we agreed to have a coffee.  I was interested in his story on how he had saved £70,000 on recruitment fees by using Cloud and Social Media. We got talking, and Paul talked through his sales career (story was very similar to mine) and then talked about how he was using Social in his current sales role.

What hooked me, was when he told me he had made 10 C-Level appointments in a week!  This blog will now share with you his secret.

Sales – Starting at the Bottom!

telesales-and-telemarketing-servicesWhen Paul and I got our “big breaks” in sales we started from the bottom. Both of us had been given a Telephone Directories and told to “call that”.  There was no @LinkedIn, we didn’t know what a Value Proposition was, we knew nothing about how to conduct ourselves on the telephone.

Maybe it’s down to personality, but actually we were both pretty good at it. My view was, well I’m probably never going to meet these people, so if I make a fool of myself, who cares?

Cold Calling – Things have Changed

Paul then expanded on how over the last 20 years making cold calls had got more difficult.  More voice mail, more gatekeepers employed to keep us sales people away from “Decision Makers”.  There are many Social Selling articles written that you don’t need to make Cold calls anymore, I’m not so sure about it, but it has got harder and harder.

shutterstock_46389259How Do you Book C-Level Meetings using Social Media?

Paul started doing all the things I write about here from a Social Selling point of view.  He set yourself up with a buyer centric profile on LinkedIn and Twitter and started curating and posting articles that he thought would be interesting to his audience.  The day before we met, he had got a C-Level meeting purely from an Infographic on LinkedIn.  He showed me the dialogue on LinkedIn.  As simple as that, decent content on LinkedIn and Bam!  A Meeting.  Anyway back to how he gets 10 appointments a week.

As all good sales professionals do, he researches his target accounts (no different than we have done for the last 30 years) but this time he does this in the Social world of LinkedIn.  (Paul and I both recommend you pay the subscription and get access to the Sales Navigator.)  He researches the organisation, business issues, news items and Executives and then looks for the people from the target Account on Twitter.  Paul, follows all his target accounts and the C-Level people he has researched on Twitter.

His usual, approach to a C-Level contact is “Noticed you were talking about XYZ have you considered this?”  This, being some content that the contact will be interested in to drive the conversation forward.

post officeHe got a meeting with a C-Level Executive in the UK’s Post Office.  There is a roll out of technology that this Executive has responsibility for.  Paul took a photo of this particular technology in his local Post Office and Tweeted to this individual “Great to see this technology being rolled out”, the Executive replied and they got into a dialogue.  Paul telling the Executive he had a presentation that might be of interest.  The executive then followed Paul back so they could have a Direct Message (DM) conversation.  Paul shared the presentation.

RoomsUsing Twitter Rooms – “Tag” Selling

With some good research and a degree of luck, Paul usually gets a follow back and then enters into a (DM) Direct Message conversation.

As with many sales organisations, Paul is a sales “generalist” so once he is in a DM conversation he brings in a colleague with specialist domain experience.  He does this using Twitter rooms.  He always asks permission to bring in the colleague.  At the point the specialist is engaged, he closes for next action, which in his case is a meeting / appointment.  He calls this tactic “shared Twitter Rooms” or “Tag Selling”.

Paul says he gets a far better response in Twitter room and says he never asks for the sale directly, by then there should be trust built between the two parties.

0221_lebow_630x420Results so far – 10 C-Level Meetings per week.

Now I agree that maybe your product or service isn’t the same as Paul’s but you have to admit that using Social this way is pretty impressive.

There’s One More Thing

doughI asked Paul how he researched the contacts on Twitter and he said that standard Twitter functionality, where it suggests three additional people to connect to, Twitter often picks “interesting” contacts.

He described this as “rolling out dough”.  The three people that Twitter suggested were often of a similar quality.

NB:  While recently talking about this article to @desalescoach he said a common objection from sales people, was you need thousands of followers to make this work.  At the time of writing @snapdragon_paul has 542.

I welcome comments and for your to share your own experiences in the blog comments below.

 

Part 2 of this discussion is to follow, where I share more of Paul’s Social Selling best practice.

 

Tim Hughes is the number 2 Social Seller Globally and is a pioneer and innovator in the world of Social Selling.  He speaks and coaches sales teams to help them start a journey to support Social Selling in their organisations.  He can be contacted at @timothy_hughes.

 

 

 

Podcast – Me being interviewed on #SocialSelling by @bernieborges @sbengine #SocialCEO #SocBiz

TimWas very fortunate to be interviewed by @bernieborges on behalf of @sbengine for a Podcast, the result is below

http://www.socialbusinessengine.com/podcasts/5-pillars-social-selling/

On This Episode You’ll Discover:

  • How 60% of sales cycle is complete before a B2B buyer engages with a vendor’s sales representative.
  • By the time a prospective B2B buyer agrees to a meeting with a vendor, the decision may have already been made.
  • Social selling was recognized as a way to make a radical change in the way to reach the buyer earlier in the evaluation process.
  • The B2B technology sales cycle has reduced from 18 months down to as fast as 2 weeks.
  • The social selling journey is classic change management.
  • It’s been an 18 month journey thus far for Oracle UK with success stories along the way….
  • Social selling must be ingrained into the process to change behaviors.
  • The social selling journey starts small with a few who are willing.
  • The culture of social selling is different country by country.
  • The 5 Pillars of Social Selling
    • LinkedIn
    • Social Media Listening
    • Influencer Marketing
    • Collaboration (Enterprise Social Network and Social CRM)
    • Marketing Automation
  • Influencer marketing is intended to reduce the 60% barrier down to 0%.
  • Social media listening technology is an effective way of generating leads.
  • Social selling behavior change doesn’t happen without management buy-in.
  • The social selling roll out contributed greatly to a more cohesive integration between sales and marketing teams.
  • Social selling best practices need to be continually reinforced.
  • Social selling must be integrated into the business strategy for sustained behavior change.
  • Tim’s blog is a “how to” for sales professionals.
  • Tim’s One Thing” : “More business people need to make the mindset shift to the social enterprise due to the disruption taking place in many market segments through cloud, big data and social. Professionals should take the time to understand how social business can positively impact their business.”

Featured On This Episode:

Bernie invite you to listen to the entire podcast episode above at your desk or on a mobile device via iTunes or Stitcher. This episode is sponsored by Social Media Strategies Summit.